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Management Information Systems


OPUS General Design Concepts

Shared data base

OPUS uses a shared data approach. This eliminated the problem of conflicting data which can occur when similar data is collected by multiple sources and stored on separate files. In OPUS, data is collected and entered by the appropriate source. It is stored in a common data base which is available to anyone who has a need and has been given authorization to access it.

No restrictions on the number of occurrences in the data base

OPUS uses a relational database management system (RDMS) to store information. The particular RDMS used by OPUS is DB2. One of the advantages of using a RDMS is that there are no limits to the number of occurrences of information that can be stored in OPUS. This varies from the old NC system in that it had fixed limits in the number of trailers, assignments, etc., that could be stored about an offender.

On-line, real-time

OPUS uses on-line, real-time updates to the database. As soon as the information is entered into the system, it becomes a permanent part of the information and can be retrieved or changed. There's no keypunching in Raleigh with its associated delays. As soon as the data is entered, it is usable throughout the organization.

7 digit DOC number

OPUS uses a sequential 7 digit DOC number rather than the 15 character "smart" number used in the old system. Any offender record entered into OPUS will have the new number only. Previous offenders in the old NC system were assigned a new 7 digit DOC number at conversion time. The old numbers on offenders prior to OPUS will be available at any time by using the F12 key. The offender record can be searched for an any time by using the old number.


OPUS is divided into numerous components referred to as sub-systems. Each of these sub-systems has been given a three character acronym, such as ORP (offender reception process). Data is "owned" by the appropriate sub-system, meaning that it is entered and updated by that sub-system. There is a shared access to this data among all the sub-systems within OPUS.

Data Dictionary (ASI)

At the core of OPUS is the data dictionary, a sub-system known as application system inventory (ASI). the data dictionary is used by all sub-systems. It is the central point for maintaining all code values, such as valid county codes, race codes, etc.

Whenever possible, data is stored as a coded value in OPUS. By doing this, data can be edited against the dictionary values to ensure that valid data is being entered. the dictionary also contains a narrative description for coded values, such as "Female" for the gender code "F", so that meaningful information can be displayed on screens and reports rather than just the coded values.

The data dictionary also contains documentation for all the screens and reports in OPUS. This information is used to provide helpful menus to the casual or infrequent user of the system.

Code tables and pop-up screens

OPUS uses code tables whenever possible for all data that may change over time. With this approach, the program code will not have to be changed when new things happen at DOC, such as the opening of a new prison, or the formation of a new DCC office. This information will be accessed by using pop-up screens, choosing correct code and description from the pop-up screen, pressing the appropriate key which will cause the code value to be saved in the correct place on the screen.

Audit trails

Every time the database is updated, information about the operator entering the information will be stored into the database. The databases will also store the date and time of the transaction. This information will be used as an audit trail that can be queried later.


OPUS is a menu-driven system that allows fast-path access for users who are familiar with the various screens. To use the menu approach, one only needs to remember the word OPUS. By entering OPUS in the top, left corner of a clear screen, the user gains access to the system. A list of sub-systems will appear and one may then proceed on to a list of screens or a list or reports within that sub-system by following the instructions shown on the main menu. Narratives about each screen and report are also available. By navigating forward from the main OPUS menu, one can arrive at any screen in the system. Data entry is on-line and real-time. A special screen, called the "Batched Job Submitter" screen, is used to request the printing of any hard copy report.


Management Information Systems

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